Posts Tagged ‘Modular construction’

Plans for Floating Modular Cities, “Seasteading” is Becoming Reality

December 20th, 2017 Comments off

FloatingModularCitiesSeasteadingYouTubeDailyBuinessNewsManufacturedModularHousingMHProNEwsThe billionaire founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel, is one of the driving forces behind the Seasteading Institute, which has announced it has struck a deal that can yield the first floating city by 2020.

The Drudge Report, Britain’s Daily Mail and a host of media are covering the announcement that this first semi-autonomous floating city-state, will be built in the Pacific Ocean, off the island of Tahiti.

Floating islands would feature aquaculture farms, healthcare, medical research facilities, and sustainable energy powerhouses,” per the Daily Mail.

The videos shown are by the Seasteading institute.  They don’t specify that the housing will be modular, but a related article on Wikipedia stated that modular construction is what will be used.

The nonprofit Seasteading Institute, which hopes to “liberate humanity from politicians,” stated the Daily Mail.  What are the odds of that happening?

Its founders point to the Kevin Costner movie, WaterWorld, as part of the inspiration for the environmentally sustainable plans.

A feasibility report by Dutch engineering firm Deltasync said the square and pentagon platforms would measure 164ft (50metres) in length and they would have 164 ft-tall (50 metre) sides to protect buildings and residents,” per the Daily Mail.

From 250 to 300 people will be the first residents, and the platforms that will hold the structures are projected to last for up to 100 years.

Theil was a noted supporter of then candidate Donald J. Trump in the 2016 election cycle. ## (News, analysis, commentary.)

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Manufactured Housing, Prison Reform, Production, and Factory Built Housing Opportunitie$

November 24th, 2017 Comments off

PrisonsPrisonersManufacturedHousingCommitteeforResponsibleFederalBudgetDailybusinessNewsMHProNewsPrisons. Prisoners. Manufactured housing.

There are already points of intersection.  Can – and should – there be more?

Can the factory-built housing industry and the penal system each benefit by developing deeper ties with the other?  Can that be accomplished profitably?

The private and public sides of the U.S prison system costs the nation some $80 billion dollars annually, per data fact-checked by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

As their data charts shown below reflect, much of that spending is at the state and local level.

That makes the ‘prison industry’ – both private and public sectors combined – roughly 14 times larger than new manufactured housing sales calculated at the retail level.


Prisons & Factory Building – Points of Intersection?

There are already some state-based efforts by manufactured housing association executives to see how prison labor might be used to ease the demand for labor in factories.


There are also examples – such as the state of Michigan’s penal system – where prisoners are building components that are being used by factory-built and other housing companies.


But are there more opportunities for the two industry’s to develop mutually beneficial relationships?


Modular Prison Rises in Mexico

U.S. Penal System Reform

There’s a growing bipartisan agreement that the penal system in America needs to be reformed.

With some sources estimating that there are 2.3 million Americans living behind bars – some say, the largest percentage of a population anywhere in developed world who are living incarcerated – there are several areas that with strategic vision, planning, and action could develop into billions of dollars in factory-built home industry opportunities.

Let’s float some ideas that a private or public prison system could explore, test, refine, and implement.

Forget prison cells, and dormitories.

Say hello instead to prisons where inmates live in a single-section manufactured homes, behind a walled town that also produces HUD Code manufactured and/or modular homes, as well as components for the building trades.

Used for those inmates who are properly screened – say, non-violent and other low-risk offenders – consider these bullets:

1) More humane incarnation,

2) Lower cost for manufactured homes (MH) than for building prison cells in many jurisdictions,

3) If a prisoners’ family wishes to do so, let them live with the inmate,

4) this could yield prisoners who are less likely to become institutionalized,

5) inmates are learning an honest skill they can use once outside, and

6) if they become a repeat offender, they could be screened out of this single-family housing program in the future.


With so many locked up, this might prove to be a smarter way to advance for tens of thousands of inmates.  With the shortage of housing labor, this could also create opportunities for both the MH Industry and penal system.

As noted, some prisons here and abroad are already testing elements of similar concepts.

Are there issues to navigate?

Yes, as the previous Daily Business News article linked below outlines, there are pros-and-cons that should be considered, and by doing so, the best possible approaches could be devised.

Kansas Manufactured Housing Association Opposes Home Building in Prison

Two Closing Notes

With millions still out of work, how can there be a ‘shortage?’

The entire issue of the so-called shortage of labor in U.S. needs to be seen as an indictment of a failed educational, and welfare system.

Who says?

A manufactured housing state association executive has told MHProNews that drug and alcohol addicted applicants and workers are part of the problem faced by employers, including those in manufactured housing and production. Significant numbers who apply simply don’t qualify, or are too addicted to hold a job.  Furthermore, when living off the state/federal largess is about the same – or better paying than – working in a factory, “why work in the factory?” that state association executive said.


Developing skills – such as trade skills – are yet another possible purpose of education, one that the Trump Administration has said that it wants to revitalize

It is also an indictment on our educational system to the extent that many schools drifted away from providing opportunities to learn skilled trades. Not everyone is going to be college bound.  Why isn’t more being done to develop skills in the years before and during high school?

RevDonaldTyeJrManufacturedHousingAdvocateDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsManufactured housing advocate, the Rev. Donald Tye has told MHProNews that how education is performing often contradicts the principles of good education.  That’s a view held by others leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. described education.

Manufactured housing and prison connections are one of those mid-to-longer term projects the industry should develop.

Why not? “We Provide, You Decide.” ## © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Soheyla is a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC the parent company to MHProNews and MHLivingNews.

Capsys Swept up by Modular Builder Whitley Manufacturing

February 13th, 2016 Comments off

forest_city_ratner_module__co._creditOperating four factories with a team accustomed to the complex task of building, transporting and setting modular units, modular construction company Whitley Manufacturing has acquired modular builder Capsys and its proprietary building system, according to multihousingnews.

While Whitley intends to manufacture Capsys at its Leola, Pennsylvania facility, it wants to market the units across the country. As MHProNews posted Dec. 14, 2015, Capsys closed its plant at Brooklyn’s Atlantic Navy Yards after nearly 20 years, and was entertaining an offer from Pennsylvania, presumably Whitley.

In New York City Capsys built the modules for the 55-unit micro-modular apartment, as well as for the Forest City Ratner modular housing complex at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn.

Capsys is synonymous with modular construction in New York City, and its system will let us build taller. In a place where most of the space is vertical, that’s a really important feature,” Whitley president Simon Dragan said.

Capsys founder and president Nick Lembo began Capsys specifically to build smarter and faster in New York City. I’m proud of what the Capsys team has accomplished over the years and how we have expanded the options for construction in New York,” he said.

Whitley began in the late 1940s building homes for returning veterans, and has manufactured roughly 40,000 units for public and private use, including many modular projects in NYC. However, they have been limited to smaller affairs of no more than three stories, but the acquisition of Capsys will enable it to expand its repertoire more vertically.

We are grateful to Capsys for all the work they have done over the years to introduce and popularize modular,” Dragan said. ##

(Photo credit: Forest City Ratner–module for 34 story modular housing complex)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Modular Becoming more Mainstream in UK

July 29th, 2015 Comments off

modular__24_dash_dot_com_ukA survey conducted by Inside Housing magazine in the United Kingdom says that over the next three years, 58.6 percent of the 22,544 homes planned by 17 of the UK’s largest housing associations will be constructed using offsite methods, including modular construction. Heathrow Airport’s Terminal T2A was modular construction, and London’s iconic Leadenhall Building, even given the tight constraints of adjacent buildings, was 85 percent modular.

Start to completion times can be cut by up to 50 percent using modular methods, and disruption to the environment and surrounds, especially when it is an addition to a school or hospital, is minimized, as reported by Work in the factory on the modules can occur at the same time the site is being prepared, saving even more time.

Working in a controlled environment out of the elements reduces waste and is safer, especially as opposed to working outside, at height.

Helen Scott of modular buildings specialists AV Danzer says, “When clients and contractors visit our completed buildings, they are amazed with our build quality, and the speed of our delivery. The resulting efficiencies can result in up to 50% cost savings over traditional methods.

MHProNews understands off site construction is becoming more realized as a mainstream method of building in Great Britain. ##

(Photo credit:–modular apartments in Great Britain)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Mammoth Modular Project in NYC Moving Forward, Again

July 1st, 2015 Comments off

brooklyn ratner modular unit  SHoP Architects  creditFollowing the nearly four-year-old on-again, off-again saga of Forest City Ratner’s building of what is billed as the largest modular residential structure in the world in New York City, the mega firm has created a new position to head the modular housing division.

Manhattan construction firm executive Susan Hayes will now lead the subsidiary, known as FC Modular, to complete the 32-story tower at Barclay’s Center in downtown Brooklyn. In one of MHProNews‘ last posts about the project from April 10, 2015, Ratner’s collaboration with Swedish builder Skanska had unraveled into acrimonious lawsuits as only one of the 16 modular units had been completed.

According to crainsnewyork, Ratner bought out Skanska and instead of closing the Brooklyn Navy Yards, where the modules are constructed, Ratner is looking at building other modular housing units in the city. MaryAnne Gilmartin, CEO of Forest City, said, “Modular construction is an important part of the future for our industry, and Susan will bring tremendous value as we seek new business partners and source new business opportunities going forward. This model is still yet to be proven, but I am a deep believer.

The city is proposing zoning changes in several neighborhoods that could make modular construction more attractive for developers.

One developer—Garrison Architects–discovered it is cheaper to ship modular units from Poland than to build or buy stateside. ##

(Image credit: SHoP Architects–Ratner’s modular housing unit in Brooklyn)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News- MHProNews.

Modular Containers Spreading to Multiple Uses

May 25th, 2015 Comments off

modular jail cells   clark county sheriff deputy william gibson  springfilednewssun  bill lackey  creditWhile 90 shipping containers have been repurposed to make the Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery in Khartoum, Sudan, and 86 containers have created the eight-story Travelodge Uxbridge Central Hotel in London, they are being reinvented in the Tampa Bay (FL) area as modular taverns and restaurants.

Tampa architect Brandon Hicks has designed a waterfront bar and kitchen for the Getaway in St. Petersburg, combining two modular containers, one 40 foot and one 20 feet. The smaller of the two is for food preparation, so it had to be a new one, never contaminated by handling cargo. They are strong and cheap, he says, but you are also limited by the eight-foot height, they trap heat and moisture, sometimes alterations can make them too weak, and some have been damaged in shipping.

But they can speak to an architectural aesthetic: It immediately starts to talk to that industrial and practical feel that you’re kind of after from a design standpoint,” Hicks said. “There’s no element on a container that isn’t there for a very specific form and functional standpoint.

According to tampabay, because of the space limitations for the Getaway, it was adaptable to the need, and builder Michael Purdy said conventional materials and methods would not have worked, and the modular containers cost less.

As MHProNews has reported previously, containers are frequently used one time, primarily to bring cargo from China and other points east, and because it is expensive to ship them back empty, millions are sitting idle. They have been used for housing all across the globe, stacked for multifamily, as well as singularly to house the homeless. One company in Montana, Montainer, takes orders online, customizes the modular units to the specifics of the consumer, and ships them on a truck to the buyer. ##

(Photo credit: springfieldnewssun/Bill Lackey-modular containers adapted to jail cells. Deputy Sheriff William Gibson, Clark County, Ohio)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.


Modular Skyscraper Erected in 19 Days

May 5th, 2015 Comments off

chinese_modular_5-2015__canadian_press__creditWith 19 atriums, 800 apartments and office space for 4,000 workers, 1,200 employees of the Broad Sustainable Building Co. erected a 57-story modular skyscraper in 19 working days in Hunan’s provincial capital, Changsha, China, according to

The 2,736 modules that make up Mini Sky City were fabricated in 4 1/2 months before construction began on the rectangular glass and steel edifice, which the workers assembled at the rate of three floors a day. The structure can withstand earthquakes, according to the builder.

Liu Peng, associate director of the engineering consulting firm ARUP Beijing, says it it a safe and reliable way to build skyscrapers. But it is not perfect, and it does not meet all kinds of personalized demands,” Liu said. “People nowadays want more personalized architecture.

As MHPronews posted July 26, 2013, the same company has plans to build the world’s tallest building in Changsha, 220 stories, also using modular construction. Broad is awaiting government approval for the project. ##

(Photo credit: Canadian Press–57 story modular skyscraper in Changsha, China)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Modular G House Designed for Do-It-Yourselfers

April 29th, 2015 Comments off

g_home__modular__review_journal__creditThe prototype of a super energy-efficient modular home with zero carbon footprint will be completed this summer in Henderson, Nevada, and the designer, Aeron Tozier, hopes to spread his concept nationwide. Set to be “super insulated” with radiant heat barriers and rigid, spray and batt insulation, he also plans to include thermal and photovoltaic solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and charging stations. The ultimate goal is to sell energy back to the grid.

As review-journal tells MHProNews, Tozier’s design, called the G Home, will be for do-it-yourselfers, and the two-story model shown will run around $100 per square foot. Noting that a general contractor may be necessary for supervision, the combination of modular components and standard construction practices will result in a home that is disaster resistant and achieves efficiency in renewable energy and natural resource conservation, collection, storage and use. ##

(Photo credit: review-journal–modular G Home)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Cracking the Code – Modular Skyscraper 32 Floors of snap-together Prefab units

January 13th, 2015 Comments off

32-story-skyscraper-brooklyn-new-yorkAlthough modular construction is not new, it’s only been in recent years that a fascination and appreciation for modular has increasingly hit the mainstream. After World War II, the low cost and high efficiency of prefab construction appealed to architects who were building schools, hospitals, and government buildings. Today’s building professionals are discovering the benefits of factory-crafted construction.

Fast Company  tells MHProNews  that today’s modular construction now includes apartment buildings, and yes, a skyscraper in Brooklyn, New York.  Modules are being constructed at a factory located in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard, an industrial park. Workers there are creating extremely precise, 450- to 950-square-foot apartments that will click and seal together to form 32 stories of stacked modular apartments.

When completed, a finished module in developer Forest City Ratner’s B2 building will include a kitchen stocked with new appliances and a full bathroom. In fact, the only unfinished elements after the “mods” are trucked two miles over to the construction location will be the plumbing connections, which plumbers can simply snap together from a kit packed inside the walls. Everything else, including hallways, stairs, and five phases of modular construction from the inside out to the façade, will be done at the factory. Fast Company says that union labor is being used in this project

Modular assembly is often compared to the kind of assembly line popularized by the auto industry, but it is actually being constructed by a different process altogether. Instead of individual workers putting together piecemeal parts, FCS Modular and its Swedish partner Skanska decided on using a system called “group technology work cells” in which multidisciplinary groups of cross-trained tradesmen work on different parts of the floor simultaneously.

A bathroom, for example, takes a lot longer to do than a living room. So if you tried to build them in a line, every time you had something like a kitchen come by, it would slow down,” Roger Krulak, a senior vice president at Forest City Ratner (FCR), explained.

Because of innovations like these, FCR claims to have “cracked the code” to modular building on a new scale. The company says that B2 will be built in 18 months, or two-thirds the time it would take for conventional construction. Stacking the mods onsite, like building a Lego tower, will occur on a speedy rolling basis.

To further expedite the construction process, as metal chassis come into the factory, finished mods go out by truck, and are lowered onto the new structure by crane. The prefab process is estimated to save money and reduce the construction waste that occurs when building from the ground up by 70% to 90%.

To secure the building from winds and seismic shifts, both a steel brace and a conventional foundation will be used, which is a hybrid of modular and traditional construction methods. In addition, a more radical innovation takes place in between the mods. They are joined together by rubber sealant like the connections between subway cars. The sealant goes on the façade in one of the final steps before the mod is trucked out. The apartments, meanwhile, require zero welding.

kitchen-modular-skyscraper-brooklyn-new-yorkOne of the most impressive feats of B2, is its precision. Krulak explained that B2 only allows for one-eighth of an inch of tolerance. Defined as the amount you can vary from an exact measurement in the structure, an eighth-inch tolerance is an exceptionally tiny bit of leeway compared to other kinds of construction.

It’s ridiculously tight,” Krulak says. “There’s no question we’re building stronger, we’re building quieter, and we’re building more energy  efficient.” ##

(Photo Credit: Fast Company)



Article Submitted by Sandra Lane to – Daily Business News- MHProNews


San Fran going MOD…modular building poised to help area’s housing

December 18th, 2014 Comments off

larry-pace-cannon-constructors-credit-todd-johnson-biz-journals-posted-daily-business-news-mhpronews-San Francisco, California is about to discover the benefits of modular housing. The need for new housing in that area is acute and rents are increasing rapidly due to scarcity of housing units. Fortunately, several new modular projects are in the works that will help to alleviate this situation.

San Francisco Business Times’  Cory Weinberg explains that one of the first is a 136-unit multifamily project developed by Holliday Development in Oakland. The modular construction will save developers up to 30 percent of the costs, because 80 percent of the job will be done off-site at a factory in Sacramento.

As factory-building pros and aficionados know, the modules/components will be trucked to San Francisco and crane-lifted into place. That speeds up the progress of the project. Modular building can also mean that the return on investment is accelerated, because of the faster start-to-finish time line.

Modular has been tantalizing and teasing people for years,” said developer Rick Holliday. “It needs to be done at scale, which is what we’re doing. If we’re doing a repeat job a year from now, that’s an indicator that this works.

Holliday Development and three additional development companies plan to start modular projects of at least 70 units each in San Francisco, Oakland, Emeryville, and San Leandro in the next year.

The story in the Business Times points out thatthe potential cost savings that could be taken from more efficient labor and pre-bought materials are sorely needed in a market where it’s increasingly expensive to build.”

“What caused us to take the plunge is that the cost of housing has become so ridiculously high,” said Larry Pace, principal of Cannon Constructors, the general contractor on Holliday’s project and other modular projects in the Bay Area.

As in most new and innovative ideas, there is always some skepticism.  Will capital follow this trend?

However, many developers and builders feel that it is time for a change. Patrick Kennedy, owner of Panoramic Interests said,“It’s remarkable to me how little innovation has taken place in wood-frame construction. Balloon framing was invented in Chicago in 1833, and it hasn’t changed much in the intervening 200 years.”

Kennedy feels that if meaningful progress is going to be made in providing affordable housing for the middle class, then cities and developers need to experiment with new building prototypes. ##

(Editor’s note: This could make a nice book end to Sandra Lane’s earlier report on rising rental rates and the opportunities for factory home builders, linked here.)

(Photo Larry Pace, partner in Cannon Constructors. Photo Credit: Todd Johnson, Biz Journals)

sandra-lane-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com-75x75-Article submitted by Sandra Lane to – Daily Business News – MHProNews.